Patching for fun.

Well it’s Saturday night here (actually, it rapidly heading into Sunday morning) but alas, no fun and games for me as I’m at work taking advantage of those precious downtime slots to patch our Windows servers…..yay ;-)

To be honest WSUS does most of the work and only requires the occasional prod inbetween cups of coffee so whilst I’m here I thought I’d patch another Microsoft box – but this one should be way more fun to do.

I’m going to softmod an Xbox one console.That’s ‘one’ as in the original ‘one’ and not the new ‘one’. Thanks for that MS!

There’s a few ways of doing this and the internet is full of great tutorials covering them all. The one I’m going to try is the harddrive swap method because yanking IDE cables from live PC’s is so Taboo :-)

Right, the moment of truth. I’ve got my freshly burnt boot disc I made via NDure based on my xbox firmware version and am about to boot my doner PC prior to swapping over the hardrive.

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I got the timing wrong on this first attempt and the boot disk had loaded and timed out before I had chance to swap over the drive, but on the second go I got it right and therefore ran through the process of applying the mod.

All seemed to have gone well and was them able to boot into the alternative dashboard and access my Xbox via FTP. The first job was to backup that all important EEPROM file and then onto prepping the files again (and creating another custom boot disk) to allow me to swap out the original 20gb xbox harddrive for something a bit bigger.

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Again, all went well until I tried to lock the drive using xboxhdm on the doner PC. It took me a while to figure it out but it was simply the bios settings on the PC that needed to be changed.

Once fitted into the xbox, I ftp’d some retro gaming fun stuff over to take advantage of all that lovely storage space.

Here’s Hypervision, a Hyperspin styled frontend for MAME.

So….do I go for a spot of Donkey Kong or watch the progress of more SQL updat…….zzzzzzzzz.

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Testing my CD32 gamepad with Win-UAE.

There’s been a great deal of activity within the Commodore CD32 camp this September, and the release of converted Amiga games being published each day.  So far, the releases include popular titles like Cannon Fodder, Flashback, Skidmarks and Monkey Island 2 to name but a few and today’s release is the stunning Lionheart.

A full list of what’s available and all of the current download links can be found here -

http://unofficial-cd32-ports.blogspot.co.uk/

Not content with just the providing the games though, they’ve also created custom DVD covers and controls screens for each game should you wish burn and print your own physical copy. I hope you agree, this deserves a mighty thumbs up!

Sadly I don’t have a CD32 console any more to play these games on <note to myself, do not get rid of anything…ever…unless passing on to fellow retro gamers> yet the release on day 17 sparked my interest to try it out via emulation.

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Slam Tilt Pinball on the Amiga surely has to be one of the greatest 16-bit 2D pinball games out there. I’m a huge fan of the Fantasies/Illusions series on the Amiga but Slam Tilt’s four tables are just so much fun to play and have plenty to shoot for  as well as a good dollop of humour and contain some of the very best DMD animations on a computer game.

I’d usually play Slam Tilt Pinball from harddisk on my Amiga, but what interested me particular about this CD32 conversion was the additional option to use the CD32’s gamepad shoulder buttons to control the flippers as opposed to joy left and a single fire button (although that particular option is still available if you prefer it). It’s a personal choice of course, but for me, it makes the whole game even more enjoyable.

Blue for me then.

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But….as I mentioned above, I don’t have a CD32 console. What I do have is a CD32 gamepad though and that 9-Pin to USB joystick adaptor I posted about yesterday.

So first things first, I need to reconfigure the USB joystick adaptor because out of the box it’s flashed to support  a three buttoned joysticks or gamepad.

I’ve downloaded the HIDBootFlash utility and the CD32 controller hex file from – http://www.retronicdesign.com/en/download/

To set the controller into program mode, attach it to the USB adaptor, hold down fire button 1 on the gamepad (red on the CD32 pad) and plug the adaptor into the PC’s USB port.

After a short pause, the PC detects the adaptor as a standard HID device.

Open the HIDBootFlash,  1# select  ‘Detect HID’ device 2# browse to the CD32 hex file  #3 check the reboot AVR button and finally #4 press the Flash Device button.

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Once the device has been flashed, let go of the gamepad fire button, unplug the adaptor from USB port, wait a few seconds and then plug it back in again. Hopefully, it should now be detected as a USB game controller.

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Mine works o.k apart from the seventh (play) button on my controller.  It could be that the actual game pad button is duff or that something is amiss but to be honest, it’s not a button I’m going to need and can always remap it to a keyboard letter if needed in Win-UAE.

Also, I found that buttons 5 and 6 (on the CD32 gamepad, this is the shoulder buttons)  appears to be the wrong way around. Again, no matter as this can be corrected by remapping in Win-UAE.

2) (1)

…..and off we go. Slam Tilt Pinball on an emulated (win-uae) CD32 with original joystick support.

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Retro Joystick USB adaptor #2

Earlier on in the year I ordered a MayFlash USB joystick adaptor  to connect older Atari style 9-pin  joysticks (including Megadrive pads), Nintendo NES and Nintendo SNES pads to my PC via USB. It looked great but in the end it failed to live up to it’s promise and despite the SNES bit working just fine, it was the dp9 part that I was hoping to use with my PC and Raspberry Pi.  You can read all about it here –  - http://stiggyblog.wordpress.com/2014/02/19/mayflash-retro-gamepad-joystick-to-usb-adaptor/

Well, I thought I’d try again with another adaptor and  one that has received some excellent reviews and a  popular choice with my fellow retro gamers.

USB Joystick Adaptor by Retronic Design – http://www.retronicdesign.com/en/

I ordered via eBay, and three days later it arrived. Considering it was coming over from Canada, damn that was quick! On one end its the mighty USB (which may require flipping three times) , on the other there’s nine pins of retro gaming awesome-ness and somewhere in the middle there’s some sort of electronic fusion glue from Canada.

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Stella awaits!

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Out of the box, well little bag,  it supports a whole range of 9-pin joysticks with up to three buttons.  I’ve tried a handful of sticks from Cheetahs and Quickshots to Speedkings and Comp Pro’s to Zipsticks and Tac2 sticks – All work perfectly.  There’s also support for Sega Megadrive (3/6 buttoned) Amiga Mice,Atari 2600 paddles and many more after a quick firmware upgrade using the tools available on the owners website.

Retro Joystick detected as a standard gamepad in Windows or can be configured as a keyboard/cursor joystick with Joy2Key etc.

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Although not listed on the website, I thought I’d try is with my Panasonic 3DO pad (it didn’t work) and just for laughs (and fingers crossed that it actually might work) my Vectrex Pad….which it didn’t – well, the joystick was non responsive but the four buttons respond as directional control.

All in all, a great product and a great way to get more out of your emulation fun.

 

 

 

Retro Gaming – Downfall – Commodore 64

During my visit to Retro Revival last month I spent an enjoyable hour hanging out at the homebrew area set up by OldSchoolGaming and enjoyed some of the titles playing on the C64, Atari 800XL and Amiga. On the Amiga, I was instantly hooked on Downfall,, a cracking little casual game similar to the version I’m familiar with by Reboot on the Atari Jaguar.

Retro Revival 2014 – Spot the Chameleon?

 

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The aim of the game is to simply stay alive by moving your mouse(?), left or right to land on one of the platforms below. The screen scrolls vertically from bottom upwards and so if you stay put for too long, you mouse will hit the top of the screen and die. Likewise, mistime a jump and fall off the bottom of the screen and it’s curtains again for poor mousey.   Occasionally, you’ll need to leap blindly in the hope that a platform will scroll up from the bottom to catch you. These ‘leap of faith’ moments are quite exhilarating and what makes these game so additive,

During you endless journey down, objects will be appear at random which can be collected for points or provide one of many special abilities.  For example, on the Jag version there’s a Jetpack and on the Amiga version there’s some go faster shoes.

It’s while I was searching for Downfall to add to my Amiga harddrive  did I happen to come across a low res screenshot of the game. On closer inspection, I found it to be a  WIP port for the C64 and have been messing around with it this afternoon.

I’ve got them both running on my PC via WinUAE and Vice and side by side, compared to the Amiga AGA version on the left (of course!), it looks a bit sparse. However, it’s still the same great game and comes with a tap-tastic SID tune.

Down, down, down we fall.

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You can pick up the Amiga version here – http://downfall.mikendezign.com/

and the C64 version here – http://www.rollingpet.de/c64/downfall/

 

Do you know of any other ports of Downfall or games of a similar style? If so, it would be great to hear from you.

 

Galaga controller custom carry case.

Haha, absolutely love this one. I found it whilst image searching for inspiration to help pimp my Mame cabinets graphical frontend.

Galaga Controller custom carry case. Gotta love that hand painted space art.

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All it needs now is a Raspberry Pi and you’ve got yourself a neat little lunchbox. More photos can be found at the creators blog page -

http://www.jetpackjason.com/blog/2010/11/03/galaga-mame-controller